NBA Slam Dunk Contest: Remembering the Human Highlight Reel

Human Highlight Reel Dominique Wilkins

Former Atlanta Hawks’ Dominique Wilkins

In 1976, “Dr. J” Julius Erving initiated basketball fans’ love affair with the slam dunk when he won the first official professional dunking contest in the old ABA All-Star Game.

Last night in New Orleans, NBA All-Star guard John Wall of the Washington Wizards effortlessly soared above the rim to become the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Champion. His acrobatic slam off a Wizards’ mascot assist helped him capture the acclaim as the league’s latest electrifying leaper.

But, without question, high-flying Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins is best remembered as the greatest overall dunker that the sport of basketball has ever produced.

Wilkins’ flushes, punches, alley-oop finishes, punctuating put backs and patented windmills were so prolific, NBA fans embraced him by his creative nickname – the Human Highlight Reel.

Former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins earned his nickname for the non-stop, jaw-dropping highlights he provided on the hardwood, or better yet, from ten plus feet above the hardwood!

Wilkins regularly rose above his NBA peers as that one special athlete whose extraordinary athletic achievements merited the moniker – Human Highlight Reel.

Wilkins’ nickname starts one of my sports comic books which highlights my all-time top 25 Favorite Sports Nicknames.

MIKE Top 25 Vol 1 NicknamesThis NBA legend’s hardwood exploits brought instantaneous expectation wherever he played. Wilkins never limited his game to just one incredible play per night. Instead, he consistently produced a film reel full of them.

As Dominique’s neat nickname suggests, the Human Highlight Reel defied gravity. He electrified fans with his high flying dunks every time he stepped onto the basketball court.

Wilkins won the NBA Slam Dunk Championship twice. Plus, his thrilling dunks from the 1985 and 1990 dunking contests are still regularly watched on You Tube.

A nine-time NBA All-Star and the 1985-86 NBA scoring champion, this University of Georgia product averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game during the 14 seasons he played.

However, Wilkins will be best remembered for his powerful windmill dunks as well as his acrobatic ability to score from the most unlikely places on the court.

Wilkins currently works with his original NBA team, the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta fans hope he can transform his on-court success as a player into a future off-court Human Highlight Reel as one of the league’s top executives by assembling a team that competes for a future NBA Championship.

Now that would be a highlight reel worth watching!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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